Posts Tagged ‘OSTRICH’

The OSTRICH project has generated some interesting outputs that have built on the lessons learnt from the OTTER project. This morning Ale and I mapped out all the main stages in the OSTRICH “story so far” in the form of a flowchart, with the aim of deriving a set of guidelines for other institutions that are considering implementing OERs for the first time.

This is what we came up with (all credit to Ale for the diagram!):

Draft OER adoption and management model

Draft institutional OER adoption and management model

In case the text is not clear enough, the key stages in the diagram are:

Senior Management Team engagement

-> Stakeholder analysis

-> Engagement of key stakeholders (e.g. Learning and Teaching support unit/ e-learning support team, academic contributors, IT services, the library and IP. copyright officers)

-> Knowledge transfer (Evidence of the benefits of OERs from other institutions, information about licences and formatting, advice on workflow procedures)

-> Decisions made on technical platforms, branding of OERs, licensing, maintenance and sustainability, support for academics

-> Assessment and decision-making around which subject areas to prioritise for OER development, whether to start from scratch or convert existing materials, and negotiation with potential academic contributors

-> Development of institutional repository if needed (or a decision to only use publicly available repositories such as Jorum Open or OER Commons)

-> Application of workflow processes described in CORRE or DORRE workflows. (Including: populate, check, evaluate and celebrate.)

More detail (and a better version of this flowchart) to come soon…

Gabi Witthaus, 22 June 2011


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Last week Ale and I had a very productive meeting with our colleague at the University of Derby, Phill, to reflect on the achievements of the OSTRICH project so far, and the lessons learnt and questions that have arisen out of the project. Losing Linda Swanson has obviously been a major setback and very distressing for all of us, but despite the difficulties and everyone’s sadness around this situation, we all agreed that the project was running as smoothly as it could be under the circumstances.

One of the “lessons learnt” about the cascade process that I found particularly interesting was that there seems to be no getting away from the fact that our face-to-face meetings have been more fruitful (and more enjoyable) than online meetings. Online meetings are good enough for simple updates and joint decision-making on relatively straightforward issues, but when we wanted to do some deep collaborative thinking (e.g. in drawing up our revised model of CORRE that we shared at OER11) or to reflect in a relaxed way on the project (as in the meeting at Derby last week), everyone was firmly of the opinion that a face-to-face meeting would be more productive.

Perhaps one day we will have webconferencing technology that more closely emulates the nuances of face-to-face communication than is possible today. In the meantime, I think that in any future projects of this nature, we will build regular face-to-face visits into the schedule from the start if possible.

Gabi Witthaus, 7 June 2011

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The University of Bath has rolled up its sleeves in preparation for the creation and release of at least 100 credits’ worth of teaching materials as open educational resources (OERs). A workshop led by members of the OSTRICH project team from Leicester (Ale, Tania and myself), with the project team and academic contributors from Bath, marked a milestone in the startup of the project. The main aim was for the Leicester group to share knowledge based on our experiences of the OTTER project.

Yesterday morning’s session involved the core project team members from Bath (Andy, Vic and Julian), along with members of staff responsible for all matters related to intellectual property rights (IPR) and copyright in the institution (Kerena, Phil and Cara). Tania, Leicester’s copyright administrator, gave a summary of the IPR issues that had been encountered in the OTTER project, and a comprehensive account of how we had dealt with the challenges that had arisen. It was clear that Bath intends to take a rigorous approach to copyright management in the project.

The afternoon involved just the core project team, with the addition of Marie, who is planning to produce OERs in collaboration with a number of Bath’s partner institutions. This session focused on the workflow templates and spreadsheets that we had devised during the course of the OTTER project, which the Bath team will enhance and adapt to suit their own context. We also had an in-depth discussion on our respective responsibilities and commitments to one another and to the project.

This morning we met with the academics who have committed themselves to, or are considering, contributing OERs to the project. We started by eliciting everybody’s dreams and nightmares about OERs, which generated some interesting discussions on the purpose of OERs, the business model for producing and using OERs, the benefits for institutions and academics in producing OERs, and the challenges involved in incorporating other people’s OERs into our own teaching materials. The dreams and nightmares fed nicely into Ale’s presentation on FAQs (what our ex-colleague Sahm used to call ‘Frequently Avoided Questions’) about OERs. Ale and I were excited about the high level of enthusiasm for the project and the commitment to designing for openness that was evident.

This afternoon we had a ‘debriefing’ session amongst the core project team members, in which we discussed the next steps, mainly around liaising with academic contributors to help them implement the CORRE OER framework and processes. We rounded off the two days by developing a plan for internal, stakeholder-driven evaluation, which will complement and feed into the summative external evaluation at the end of the project.

Arising out of all these discussions, it is already clear that OSTRICH will go beyond the OTTER project outcomes by addressing the following challenges:

  • Managing workflow and information sharing in a virtual team – we will experiment with a Moodle space, to be created by Julian.
  • Implementing a more systematic approach to creating metadata for OERs
  • Gathering and collating data from key stakeholders at Bath (academic contributors, senior management, Directors of Studies, Students’ Union) about perceptions on OERs, as well as feedback on the cascade process and the quality of OERs released, as part of the internal evaluation process
  • Trialling a version of the CORRE framework in which contributors have more ownership of the process, as opposed to the original version of CORRE as piloted in the OTTER project, in which responsibility for all processes leading up to release of the OER rested with a centralised team. The new model has been nicknamed D-CORRE, the D standing for ‘devolved’.

I’m looking forward to seeing this all unfold.

Gabi Witthaus, 15 Oct 2010

(Edited 18 Oct)

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Today was the first programme meeting for the ‘cascade’ strand of the Phase 2 open educational resource (OER) projects, including OSTRICH. OSTRICH stands for OER Sustainability through Teaching & Research Innovation: Cascading across HEIs. It is a one-year project funded by JISC and the HE Academy, led by the University of Leicester and with the universities of Bath and Derby as project partners. OSTRICH will cascade the knowledge, lessons learned and models developed as part of the OTTER OER project at Leicester and will enable partners to develop and release 100 credits’ worth of OERs. In doing so, OSTRICH hopes to put Bath and Derby firmly on the national and global OER map. We are very proud to have an ostrich in the Media Zoo!

At today’s meeting in London, I had the opportunity to meet OSTRICH’s sister projects, as well as colleagues from the funders and OER projects funded under other strands – including TIGER. We’re all set for a great year of OER collaboration, development and growth. Let the fun (and the work!) begin.

Dr A Armellini
Beyond Distance Research Alliance
University of Leicester

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